Chlorine Conversion Notice


(Kirksville, MO) — The City of Kirksville’s Public Works Department, at the suggestion of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, will conduct a “free chlorine conversion” at the City’s Water Purification Facility (Water Treatment Plant) from approximately September 1, 2021 to October 9, 2021. This water treatment process is normal throughout the United States and the state of Missouri. It is used to ensure that the outer limits of the Adair County water supply are sanitized and provide quality tasting drinking water.

The “free chlorine conversion” process adds only 1 milligram of chlorine per liter of water for approximately 30 to 45 days. Although 1 milligram isn’t very much, it is enough to provide additional disinfection to the outer limits of the Adair County water system and improve overall taste and quality.  You may notice a slight chlorine taste in your drinking water during this process, but most will not notice any change. If the water from your faucet appears cloudy, simply keep the water running for a few minutes and it will clear up.

Please see some frequently asked questions below regarding this “free chlorine conversion”:

Q: Does the “free chlorine conversion” pose any health risks? Will the water be safe to drink and use?

A: The process is entirely safe and poses no health risks to customers. The water is safe to drink and customers can use the water as normal.

Q: What is a “free chlorine conversion”?

A: A free chlorine conversion is a process by which a water system switches its disinfection process from chloramines (a combination of chlorine and ammonia) to free chlorine in order to improve the long term quality of its drinking water.

Q: Why is the Public Works Department implementing a “free chlorine conversion”?

A: To improve the overall water quality in our distribution system by preventing or eliminating discoloration problems from minerals, biofilm, or nitrification.

Q: Is this the first time that the Public Works Department has implemented a free chlorine conversion?

A: No. Unlike other Missouri cities, Kirksville does not need to do an annual conversion. A conversion is only done when test results in the outer limits of the Adair County water supply warrant it.

Q: Are “free chlorine conversions” a common practice among water systems?

A: Yes. This is a common industry standard for preventative maintenance in drinking water distribution systems. Many utilities throughout both states and across the country that use chloramines for their primary distribution disinfectant convert to free chlorine on an “as needed” basis. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Missouri Department of Natural Resources endorse and support this procedure. Many Missouri cities do a free chlorine conversion annually. Fortunately, Kirksville and Adair County’s clean water supply and treatment process does not require an annual conversion.

Q: How long will the “free chlorine conversion” last?

A: The duration of the “free chlorine conversion” will be approximately from September 1, 2021 to October 9, 2021.

Q: Will I need to do anything differently during the conversion?

A: No action is necessary during the conversion. Customers may drink and use their water as normal.

Q: Why all the flushing?

A: The City of Kirksville and the Adair County Public Water Supply District must directionally flush to maintain clear water for our customers and ensure the free chlorine conversion has made it to the far reaches of the distribution system. Flushing should significantly subside after the termination of the conversion.

Q: I have low water pressure? What do I do?

A: If you’re completely out of water, or have extremely low water pressures, contact the Public Works Department or – if outside the Kirksville city limits – the Adair County Public Water Supply District. If your water pressure is just lower than normal, but is adequate to carry out your daily routine, please be patient, as this pressure drop will likely be short-lived. Water pressures should return to normal after flushing has been terminated in your area, and subsequent to the termination of the conversion.

Q: I have discolored water. What do I do?

A: Flush toilets, bathtubs, and faucets until your water clears. If it doesn’t clear with minor indoor flushing, contact your appropriate water provider so they can determine whether additional flushing in your area is warranted. Although discolored, the water is safe. The discoloration is because the free chlorine is cleaning the system. This discoloration could be from private service lines, so running or flushing your private lines will clean your system too. 

Q: My water has a strong chlorine smell. What is going on?

A: A chlorine smell is common during the conversion period, as the disinfectant is transitioning from chloramines to free chlorine. Chlorine concentrations maintained during the conversion will be well within Missouri Department of Natural Resources and EPA standards and will be entirely safe to consume and use as normal.

Q: Will my clothing be safe in the laundry?

A: Yes, but as a safeguard do not wash clothing at times of known discoloration or cloudy water. Some people verify that their water is not discolored by running 1-2 inches of water in the bath tub to check for discoloration prior to running a load of laundry. Again, this discoloration could be from private service lines so to be safe just flush your system until you get clear water.

Q: What do I need to know if I am on dialysis?

A: All medical facilities and dialysis centers have been, or will be, given advanced notice of the “free chlorine conversion”. As a precautionary measure you should consult your doctor if you have any questions about your particular dialysis treatment.

Q: I have a fish tank. How will it affect my fish?

A: Processes in place to remove chloramines in water will remove free chlorine. No change or adjustment should be needed. However, the Public Works Department suggests that you contact your fish supplier and follow your equipment manufacturer’s recommendations to dechlorinate fish tank water.

 If you have questions and are located within the City of Kirksville, please contact the Kirksville Water Treatment Plant at 660.665.3720. If in rural Adair County, please contact the Adair County Public Water Supply District at 660.665.8378.

This conversion will affect all customers of the City of Kirksville and the Adair County PWSD.